I Always Feel Like, Somebody (At Hertz) Is Watching Me

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

Frequent renters know and loathe the Hertz “AlwaysLost” aftermarket nav system for its unique combination of Commodore-VIC-20-esque interface and vague indifference to actual location. It’s best to think of the little black box as the Jar-Jar Binks of the rental-car business; sometimes it forgets that entire blocks of major city of streets exist, sometimes it interprets your freeway drive as a series of excursions to the surface streets beneath which causes a Tourette’s-like existential scream of continuously changing directions, and sometimes it’s just plain lost. But just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the hapless Hertz customer, it turns out that the box might also be spying on you.

The newest NeverLost has a camera — you can see it in the publicity shot above — but Hertz claims that the camera isn’t turned on. Moreover, the company claims that they don’t know how to turn it on and have no plans to do so, and that any internal company videos purporting to show the camera working are fake. Approximately one in eight Hertz vehicles now has the camera.

In light of recent scandals such as the one where a rent-to-own company stole Social Security Numbers and took photos of users having sex there’s a definite concern that this Hertz “feature” could be used to, ah, compromise the, ah, privacy… oh, who cares, obviously the sole purpose of this device is to capture images of people getting “road head” and doing various other unsavory things in the rental cars. Given that the entire unspoken purpose of the Hertz “Dream Car Garage” or whatever it’s called is to rent cars to 43-year-old men who will then convince 23-year-old women to blow them in the parking lot of an Arby’s before the concert starts, which is a scenario that I just made up out of whole cloth and has nothing to do with any recent “Hertz Dream Car Garage” rentals I might or might not have booked… well, who cares, right? What I personally don’t want is for the company to create a so-called “supercut” of me scratching my personal equipment right after shaving it because that’s what the kids expect to see nowadays.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.